COVID-19 - Business Update 05/03/2021

Latest Covid-19 Business Update for Southend Businesses


The Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) policy has been finalised and grants are available now. ARG has been created to not only support several of the Government suggested priority sectors but also to support a wider number of local businesses that have received no Government financial support in Southend-on-Sea.

The areas this discretionary grant will cover are:

  1. Businesses that have not received previous Government funding with a business rates rateable value less than £15,000 will receive a grant of £2,000 and those with a rateable value of £15,001 to £50,999 will receive a grant of £3,000 
  2. Arts and Creative Sector – grants up to £2,000 for businesses and freelancers in the creative and cultural sector and its supply chain
  3. Inward Investment – business rates relief for businesses locating to or expanding in Southend
  4. Extension of Tier 2 and Tier 3 grants to 15 February that ceased on 19 December 2020, when we moved into Tier 4 and then lockdown.

Except for the Arts & Creative Sector and Inward Investment strands, there is a 21-day window for applications, which closes on 2 March 2021. Guidance and forms for the Arts and Creative Sector and Inward Investment pots will be available shortly.

Information about Grants available to businesses affected by COVID-19 can be found here – the council is now using a single application form for most grants and you only need to apply once.

The deadline for the Christmas Support Payment (CSP), which supports wet-led pubs (those not selling food), has been extended to 28 February 2021.  Find more information and a separate application form for this on the Business Grants page.

If you have questions about grants available please direct them to the business rates team at the council.  If you need to discuss your ongoing grant application and it has been 10 days or more since your submission please call 01702 215001 or email

Keeping your business working - get your staff tested regularly

If your staff must leave home for work, please encourage them to go for a regular free weekly test for COVID-19 at one of the Southend drop-in Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing sites in Southend.

The sites are based at St Aiden’s Church Hall in Leigh/Eastwood; Shoebury Youth Centre in Shoebury and Southend University Square in central Southend. You can book a slot for a test via or you can just drop-in to one of the centres without an appointment:

FAQs and further information about testing are available at

Testing PCR - If it is easier or more effective for your business, the council can provide PCR tests that can be administered in your workplace.  Your staff members will self-administer the test and send it back without need for you to see their personal details – they should get results in 2 days. To access PCR tests for your business contact 01702 212497 / email,

Testing LFD - Alternatively, NHS Test and Trace is working with government departments, institutions and employers across both public and private sectors to support delivery of asymptomatic testing (LFD testing) to large organisations, including those providing critical services. Delivery will be through on-site testing in the workplace. If you are interested in establishing workplace testing then please direct them to email.

Reporting cases

Remember, if a member of your staff informs you they have tested positive for COVID-19, please ensure you report this to Southend Borough Council. You can do this by calling 01702 212497 or by email.

Reporting cases is vital in helping us to stop the spread of the virus. As a business owner, you may also be eligible to access COVID-19 tests to screen your staff on site to help limit infections in your workplace and support with business continuity. The council can also provide you with help and support that could keep your business trading safely throughout the pandemic.

Published: 5th March 2021